The Mindy Project Recap: Danny’s Boy

Photo: Jordin Althaus/FOX
The Mindy Project
Episode Title
Danny's Friend
Editor’s Rating

Knowing that we’re heading to a season two with this thing, I could totally get into this otherwise pretty standard episode. Could you? It was one of those transitional episodes, like the transitional people from When Harry Met Sally … that Mindy would surely appreciate. It’s a transitional person, nottThe One. It was, in essence, fine. Not great. It’s March, people — that middle-of-the-road time before we ramp up to the finale.

But I could see the show continuing to settle into a groove. Morgan, for one, has only gotten better with age, with his two-time Otisville championship of pull-ups. The show also got really, truly, officially back on course with a historic mention of the Christmas breakup with Josh. It had yet to acknowledge that had happened, despite the gravity of that moment back when it occurred. To bring some closure, Heather, Josh’s other ex, played by The Office’s Ellie Kemper, returned to make amends with Mindy. She humbled herself with a pie and a bow. (“Okay, that’s enough, you’re not a serf, stand up,” Mindy said, pleasing many of us with the mere mention of the serfs we once learned about in eighth-grade social studies class.)

It turned out Heather was actually trying to rent an apartment in Mindy’s building, which is interesting mainly because The Office is ending and Mindy and Ellie work wonderfully together. (Remember their “Male Prima Donna” video from Mindy’s Office days? If not, do yourself a favor and watch it — though be warned that you’ll have it in your head the rest of the day.) That is to say that the show would be well advised to replace Mindy’s rotating cast of female friends on this show with some sort of frenemy in the form of Kemper’s Heather. (Or maybe she could just be a constant worthy adversary to Mindy.) I approve, even though I also enjoy the sometime-friend Maggie, who showed up briefly again this week. Mindy may have trouble attracting the right guys, but she sure as hell doesn’t have a girlfriend problem.

In any case, the ostensible plot of this episode was that Danny was caught treating “criminals” in the office late at night, prompting Mindy to swear that she “will not move to St. Paul and start over again as a travel agent. That is a dying industry.” True enough — I’ve been to St. Paul, and my mother was once a travel agent. Mindy does not want any part of either of those. (St. Paul is nice, but not right for our big-city girl.) It turned out Danny was actually giving pills ("vic," with a long I) off the books to Stevie, a friend from back in his Staten Island youth.

This did not please Mindy and Jeremy, of course. So Stevie sought out Mindy to have a talk with her, finding her at the running-shoe store. (“You got real wide feet.” “Thank you, I almost never fall down.”) Thus he became her kinda-love interest of the week — they had, as Mindy said, an impromptu date and made out like crazy. He even invited her to his little cousin’s for a first communion and told her to bring a cash gift.

This did not please Danny, of course. When he expressed this to Mindy, she was shocked to find out that “Stevie is Steven? My Steven? Danny, I let him grab my ass at the ice cream store.” Danny: “Dammit, I taught him that move.” Thus Danny, Mindy, and Morgan headed off to Staten Island to straighten things out with Stevie — there would be no more pills or Mindy — and give us a wonderful glimpse of Danny’s past. (SI is having a moment, with this and the Girls episode.) Morgan came at Mindy’s behest: “I have never been to Staten Island, and I intend on returning alive.” As evidenced by the home that Stevie shares with his Ma, I think plastic-covered furniture was far more likely than a mugging, but we always welcome Morgan on any journey.

On the ferry trip over, Mindy observed patriotically, “The Statue of Liberty: She’s like legit hot.” Once they’d crossed over, they met Stevie’s adorably compact mother, then told Stevie they were cutting him off the “vic” and the Mindy. “But that hand on your ass,” Stevie protested, “that was real.” Stevie and Danny got into an appropriately Staten scuffle when Stevie accused Danny of eating fancy pizza over in his fancy Manhattan doctor lifestyle. Danny: “Enough with the pizza.” Stevie: “Enough with your face.” But everyone came together in the end when Danny and Mindy helped Stevie’s Ma with her medication-interaction problems (do not take anticoagulants and anti-inflammatories together, folks!).

Meanwhile, back on the Isle of Manhattan, Mindy had prevented Heather from getting the apartment by giving her a bad reference. Heather would have to move back to Delaware with her mom, but she would make the best of it: “She has basic cable. Well, some channels. It’s the smallest package.” She couldn’t believe Mindy had blocked her, even though Heather had stolen Josh (or at least stolen him back) and ruined Mindy’s Christmas party. Hadn’t the pie Heather baked for her made up for all that? Well, sort of: “I kicked it. And then I ate it.” Luckily, Mindy felt bad enough to fess up to her condo board that she’d blackballed Heather unfairly, opening us up to the possibility of a more permanent role for Kemper. And it made me wonder: Which other newly unemployed Office workers could also show up on the second season of Mindy? And how many would be too many?

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